Context: A Reddit thread about Drake kissing a 17 year old girl on stage. People are wondering if laws have been violated.

This took place in Colorado where the age of consent is 17. Drake is Canadian, where the age of consent is 16. However Canada exception that makes the age of consent 18 in certain situations, see here. I'm wondering if "fan and celebrity" counts as such (in both Colorado and Canada)

My questions are (in both Colorado and Canada):

  1. Did Drake do anything illegal in the video?
  2. If Drake had sex with the girl, would that be statutory rape?

Edit: As per the request to choose a single question, my choice is : In Canada, If Drake had sex with the girl, would that be statutory rape?


1 Answer 1


Colorado Law

Choice of Law

In terms of choice of law, the controlling law in this situation is the place where the incident took place, which is Colorado in the main example given.

The citizenship of the people involved in the interaction is irrelevant in these fact patterns. Citizenship can be relevant in U.S. federal sex tourism statutes, but the fact patterns in this question don't fall within the scope of these sex tourism statutes which apply to commercial sexual activity.

Celebrity-Fan Relationships

Colorado and some other states have laws related to sex between people who are in a position of trust or authority with respect to each other, such as teachers and students (in some circumstances). Under Colorado law:

One in a "position of trust" includes, but is not limited to, any person who is a parent or acting in the place of a parent and charged with any of a parent's rights, duties, or responsibilities concerning a child, including a guardian or someone otherwise responsible for the general supervision of a child's welfare, or a person who is charged with any duty or responsibility for the health, education, welfare, or supervision of a child, including foster care, child care, family care, or institutional care, either independently or through another, no matter how brief, at the time of an unlawful act.

Colorado Revised Statutes § 18-3-401(3.5)

A similar law in Colorado applies to sex between prison guards and inmates supervised by those prison guards. See Colorado Revised Statutes § 18-3-402(1)(f). Likewise there is a law prohibiting sex between a "peace officer" and someone subject to that peace officer's authority. Colorado Revised Statutes § 18-3-405.7.

In the context of those laws, a celebrity-fan relationship is not a position of trust or authority.

Is Kissing Sex or Sexual Contact?

Consensual kissing would not under any circumstances or age differences, constitute statutory rape in Colorado. In Colorado, sex offenses must involve sexual penetration, sexual intrusion, or sexual contact. Kissing is not within the scope of any of these kinds of conduct.

(2) "Intimate parts" means the external genitalia or the perineum or the anus or the buttocks or the pubes or the breast of any person. . . .

(4) "Sexual contact" means:

The knowing touching of the victim's intimate parts by the actor, or of the actor's intimate parts by the victim, or the knowing touching of the clothing covering the immediate area of the victim's or actor's intimate parts if that sexual contact is for the purposes of sexual arousal, gratification, or abuse;

The knowing emission or ejaculation of seminal fluid onto any body part of the victim or the clothing covering any body part of the victim; or

Knowingly causing semen, blood, urine, feces, or a bodily substance to contact any body part of the victim or the clothing covering any body part of the victim if that contact with semen, blood, urine, feces, or a bodily substance is for the purpose of sexual arousal, gratification, or abuse.

(5) "Sexual intrusion" means any intrusion, however slight, by any object or any part of a person's body, except the mouth, tongue, or penis, into the genital or anal opening of another person's body if that sexual intrusion can reasonably be construed as being for the purposes of sexual arousal, gratification, or abuse.

(6) "Sexual penetration" means sexual intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio, anilingus, or anal intercourse. Emission need not be proved as an element of any sexual penetration. Any penetration, however slight, is sufficient to complete the crime.

Colorado Revised Statutes § 18-3-401(2) and (4)-(6).

Application To Examples

Did Drake do anything illegal in the video?


If Drake had sex with the girl, would that be statutory rape?

Not in Colorado, which is the applicable law to what actually happened. At age seventeen, a person in Colorado may consent to non-commercial sex with a person of any age. See Colorado Revised Statutes § 18-3-402(d) and (e).

Canadian Law

In Canada, If Drake had sex with the girl, would that be statutory rape?

I'll let someone else answer with respect to the law in the hypothetical case where Drake (who is 37 years old) had sex with a seventeen year old girl in Canada, a question which is subject to Canadian law.

The pertinent part of the link in the question (which I do not vouch for) states:

Sexual exploitation

A 16 or 17 year old cannot consent to sexual activity if:

  • their sexual partner is in position of trust or authority towards them, for example their teacher or coach

  • the young person is dependent on their sexual partner, for example for care or support

  • the relationship between the young person and their sexual partner is exploitative

The following factors may be taken into account when determining whether a relationship is exploitative of the young person:

  • the young person's age

  • the age difference between the young person and their partner

  • how the relationship developed (for example, quickly, secretly, or over the internet)

  • whether the partner may have controlled or influenced the young person

If this link is accurate, the analysis over whether sex would be exploitive under Canadian law is unclear under the facts presented in the question because Canadian law is more context dependent and the factual context is not sufficiently fleshed out. It could probably go either way under Canadian law, if the link is accurate.

  • While Colorado law doesn't include kissing among sexual acts, the Canadian law they linked to does: "ranging from kissing and fondling to sexual intercourse." I'm a little surprised that an American law wouldn't include "French kissing" among sexual acts, although a lesser offense than those involving genitals.
    – Barmar
    Commented May 8 at 19:22
  • 1
    @Barmar There may be some U.S. state laws that do so, but Colorado is not among them. Colorado also doesn't have a statutory rape law for sexual contact. Its purely age based sex offense commonly called statutory rape is limited to sexual penetration and does not apply to sexual contact.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented May 8 at 19:26

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